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Monday, August 17, 2009 

Ms. Marvel splits in two

In Ms. Marvel #43 Vol. 2, it looks like the attempt at a publicity stunt has been revealed. But it also looks like Carol Danvers, if she's still alive, has been subjected to a fate worse than death:
...it focuses on not only the evil Ms. Marvel (a.k.a. Moonstone), but also the good Ms. Marvel who somehow has been separated into two people: one a violent superhero persona, the other containing the more usual Ms. Marvel personality but contained within a regular seeming woman. Along with that we get very, very brief glimpses at the "dark" Ms. Marvel as she somewhat unravels now that she's not the only Ms. Marvel, and an even more brief glimpse at the New Avengers as they deal with the violence-focused good Ms. Marvel.
This sounds like a ripoff of the old Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within" where Captain Kirk was split into two beings by a transporter malfunction, one mild and calm, the other nasty and violent. I guess they must think that's better than Moonstone being the baddie here. (I assume though, that the dark side of Ms. Marvel comes from her drinking habit a decade ago?)

The review also talks about how the book's suffered from inconsistency:
Another problem with superhero comics these days that this series is a prime example of is its inability to keep a steady level of quality. Again, if you look at just this one issue, the artwork seems okay. To be frank, Arino's art seems somewhat low level for Marvel, but it's alright. However if one looks back to this series' earlier issues and sees the work of Roberto de la Torre and Aaron Lopresti, you can't help but think that Marvel started off with its top-tier talent for the first part of the series and has now let the quality drop after they figure they have the readers hooked. This goes almost hand-in-hand with another big problem in today's superhero comics: complete changes in direction. Looking back at the first issue of Ms. Marvel I can't help but feel like I'm now reading an entirely different series. Heck, even if we just went back a dozen issues or so the series feels completely different. She had an actual supporting cast at that point for one thing.

All of that wouldn't be as big an issue if it weren't for yet another problem that this series highlights: No definitive conclusions. I realize the comic publishers want to keep their readers hooked, but instead of simply continually making sure they publish the best stories possible, they use cheap tricks such as never having any conclusive feel to any of their issues so readers never feel like they stop collecting without it feeling like it's just hanging there. I feel sorry for anyone who has faithfully collected Ms. Marvel from its beginning and now looks at the various issues and sees there's almost nothing cohesive from the beginning of the series to the present.
For heaven's sake. The book may have had supporting cast members earlier, but it still had problems with editorial interference almost ever since the beginning, when it was dragged into Civil War, and Carol was one of the leading victims of contrived and forced characterization. But complete change in direction is correct: if this has become part of the Dark Reign crossover and just fills in the blanks with a silly story about split entities, then that shows how they didn't care about establishing a steady direction for Carol to begin with. In that case, how could the book have had the impact it could've had under a better editorial board? I think it's a shame that Ms. Marvel's been misused so badly. Carol Danvers is one of Marvel's most notable working women in the MCU, and as a second or third tier, had some potential as a solo star. But while this volume may have run longer than the 1977-79 series that ran alongside Black Panther's series of the same time, it still fared less well, and is not worth the paper it's printed on.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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